According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate for February was at 8.1 % — the highest rate in more than 25 years. For the millions of unemployed U.S. workers, climbing back into the cut-throat pool of job hunting has become a grueling and often futile task. However, finding work isn’t impossible.
Preparation plus passion and presentation equal a winning formula for success. Illustrating these essential qualities is extremely vital when marketing your brand — you — in an interview setting.
Your first impression often determines the success or failure of an interview before any words are ever exchanged. According to a recent CareerBuilder.com study of the worst interviewing mistakes, dressing inappropriately is the most common mistake. But there are several other factors that you should consider.
Be a keen observer. You can learn a lot about what to expect from your interviewer by just being watchful. Marlon Cousin, managing partner of the Marquin Group, an executive recruiting firm in Atlanta, says there are many cues that can help an applicant assess their surroundings and get a sense of the corporate culture. Observing these cues can immediately help you begin to tailor your strategy for a successful interview.
“Take the time just to be aware and notice things,” Cousin advises. “See how they interact with their customers. How they interact with people that are visiting. Use that time to do some evaluation. Don’t just sit there and talk on your cell phone.”
Keep energy high. Sometimes candidates are so concerned about presenting themselves in a professional manner they come across more subdued than energized. The energy you bring to an interview is just as important as how you dress, Cousin says.
Employers want to see candidates who are excited about what they will bring to an organization. It doesn’t matter how qualified you might be. Presenting without passion is a sure way to knock yourself out of the running for consideration.
Treat company gatekeepers with respect. Administrative assistants in some organizations wield a lot of influence. Make it a habit of treating everyone you meet in an organization cordially and with respect. You don’t know whose ear in the corporation they have. Taking the time to thank an assistant for their help can go a long way. “Sometimes the [interviewer] will ask the assistant what he or she thinks,” Cousin says.
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